Inconsiderate and irresponsible dog owners in Teignbridge will face £100 fines if they do not pick up after their pooch – and even if they do not have a doggy bag with them.
A public space protection order across the district to help deal with the dog mess problem is being recommended to be introduced by Teignbridge District Council’s executive committee next Tuesday.
The new order would enable officers to fine offenders £100 if they breach the eight controls, which also include owners letting their dog be in a banned area, if the dog is not on a lead on a highway, while new controls restricting the number of dogs that can be walked at any one time will be introduced.
The proposed PSPO would contain eight controls. They are:
FOULING – making it an offence if a person in charge of a dog fails to pick up its faeces straight away.
MEANS TO PICK UP – making it an offence if a person in charge of a dog does not carry a bag or other means of clearing up after their dog at all times.
DOG EXCLUSION AREAS (EXCEPT BEACHES) – making it an offence for a person in charge of a dog, to let a dog be in dog ban area (e.g. Children’s play park).
SEASONAL DOG EXCLUSION AREAS (BEACHES) – an offence for a person in charge of a dog, between May 1 and September 30, or April 1 and September 30, in Dawlish Warren, to take the dog onto, or permit the dog to enter or to remain on, any beach designated as a dog ban area. The beaches are Dawlish Warren, Dawlish Town, Dawlish Coryton Cove, Holcombe, Teignmouth Town, Shaldon and The Ness.
DOGS ON LEAD AREAS – an offence if a person in charge of a dog at any time does not keep the dog on a lead on land designated as a dog on lead area.
DOG(S) ON LEAD ON THE HIGHWAY – an offence if, at any time, a person in charge of a dog does not keep the dog on a lead, whilst on a road or footpaths adjacent to a road.
DOG(S) ON LEAD BY DIRECTION – an offence if at any time within a dog ban area, a person in charge of a dog does not comply with a direction given to him by an authorised officer of the council or police officer to put and keep the dog on a lead.
RESTRICITION ON THE NUMBER OF DOGS – restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by a single individual on or off the lead
The executive is asked to decide what the number of dogs that can be walked at one time should be, with no recommendation being made by officers.
The PSPO follows a public consultation that took place last year and a call made the previous year by Cllr Chris Clarance to ban all dogs from all playing fields when the council was discussing a review of the Teignbridge dog-fouling policy.
More than 2,000 people took part in the consultation with 1,179 specific comments made, with the majority of respondents supporting the controls, a report to the executive reveals.
The report of David Eaton, environmental protection manager, says: “The order is required to effectively tackle irresponsible dog ownership within the Teignbridge District.
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The aim is not to penalise responsible dog owners but to target persistent offenders who refuse to comply with the proposed controls. Consideration will be given to the ability of the owner to exercise control over the dogs before taking enforcement action.
“A person observed not to be complying with the PSPO is liable to receive a fixed penalty notice. We are recommending that the fine is set at £100. Officers also have powers to issue Community Protection Notices or prosecute if the offence warrants the sanction.”
Mr Eaton added: “The PSPO will enhance the existing controls. The law in the past on dog control has been patchy, so a PSPO will help the council deal with the minority of irresponsible dog owners who don’t clear up after their dog or control it.
“A frustration to officers and members has been the inability to deal with dog fouling on roads that do not have a national speed limit of less that 40mph. This means that many of our rural areas had no controls on dog fouling on the highway.
“For the many responsible dog owners who pick up after their dog wherever they go, nothing will change. Inconsiderate dog owners would be targeted through awareness and enforcement.”
On the proposed restriction for number of dogs that can be walked, Mr Eaton added: “There is no statutory guidance to assist when setting the numbers and comments in the consultation suggest that the numbers of dogs relates to the circumstances such as dog size, with, behaviour, strength and ability of the owner to control the dogs.
“Research from 2010 shows that 95 per cent of dog owners have up to three dogs and therefore the number of dogs would not normally be expected to exceed four dogs. East Devon District Council have recently introduced a similar PSPO for dog control and they have limited the number of dogs to no more than six dogs.”
If approved, the PSPO would initially last for three years, but could be varied or discharged by the council during that period.